Syrian Pro-Assad supporters hack major media outlets using Outbrain

The Washington Post, Time, and CNN are not only forced to use Outbrain like the rest of us traffic desperate sites, but they have also been unceremoniously attacked by people who still find time to commit massacres between keystrokes. Sad state of journalism in this country grows worse.

According to The Indian Express, who does better work than we do at a fraction of the cost. In fact, let’s be honest, they do better work than The Washington Post, Time, and CNN, too:

Hackers promoting the Syrian Electronic Army simultaneously targeted websites belonging to CNN, Time and the Washington Post on Thursday by breaching Outbrain, a firm which publishes content recommendations on those sites.

That resulted in some and customers being redirected to the website of the Syrian Electronic Army when they clicked on the content from Outbrain, said Outbrain Vice President Lisa LaCour. The CNN International site briefly displayed a headline that said “Hacked by SEA,” she said.

The Syrian Electronic Army is an online group that supports Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and has been linked to several high profile attacks. They include one on the Associated Press’ Twitter feed in which a bogus message was sent out about explosions at the White House.

The latest attacks were significant because the hackers simultaneously targeted several sites by breaching a single supplier whose content is published on multiple platforms.

SANA, the Syrian Arab News Agency, has surprisingly refused to cover this story, instead focusing on Prime Minister Dr. Wael al-Halqi’s (puppet) assertion, Government to meet citizens’ needs and rebuild what was sabotaged by terrorists.

But, let’s all hold our horses. This is an Outbrain issue not a WaPo, Time, or CNN one. As the Martin Libicki on Foreign Affairs says:

Although the risk of a debilitating cyberattack is real, the perception of that risk is far greater than it actually is. No person has ever died from a cyberattack, and only one alleged cyberattack has ever crippled a piece of critical infrastructure, causing a series of local power outages in Brazil. In fact, a major cyberattack of the kind intelligence officials fear has not taken place in the 21 years since the Internet became accessible to the public.

Thus, while a cyberattack could theoretically disable infrastructure or endanger civilian lives, its effects would unlikely reach the scale U.S. officials have warned of. The immediate and direct damage from a major cyberattack on the United States could range anywhere from zero to tens of billions of dollars, but the latter would require a broad outage of electric power or something of comparable damage. Direct casualties would most likely be limited, and indirect causalities would depend on a variety of factors such as whether the attack disabled emergency 911 dispatch services. Even in that case, there would have to be no alternative means of reaching first responders for such an attack to cause casualties. The indirect effects might be greater if a cyberattack caused a large loss of confidence, particularly in the banking system. Yet scrambled records would probably prove insufficient to incite a run on the banks.

TG Daily uses Outbrain but we have been mercifully spared by the Syrian hackers. But, in our defense, we did send Bashir a lovely gift last year because we didn’t want to piss him off.